A ‘curriculum’ is a list of content to be taught and learnt – a course of study for schools, colleges and universities. From September 2014, schools in England follow a new National Curriculum – a course of study decided by the Department for Education. Private schools, academies and free schools are exempt: they do not need to follow the requirements.
National Curriculum: overview
Our approach to the curriculum ensures accessibility to all which complies with the Equality Act 2010 and the Special Educational Needs and Disability Regulations 2014.
The following extract from section 2 of the National Curriculum (Department for Education, September 2013) provides a helpful overview:
2.1 Every state-funded school must offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which:
- promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and
- prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
2.2 The school curriculum comprises all learning and other experiences that each school plans for its pupils. The national curriculum forms one part of the school curriculum.
2.3 All state schools are also required to make provision for a daily act of collective worship and must teach religious education to pupils at every key stage and sex and relationship education to pupils in secondary education.
2.4 Maintained schools in England are legally required to follow the statutory national curriculum which sets out in programmes of study, on the basis of key stages, subject content for those subjects that should be taught to all pupils. All schools must publish their school curriculum by subject and academic year online (as we do here).
2.5 All schools should make provision for personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE), drawing on good practice. Schools are also free to include other subjects or topics of their choice in planning and designing their own programme of education.
The National Curriculum: aims
Section 3 2 of the National Curriculum (Department for Education, September 2013) sets out its aims:
3.1 The national curriculum provides pupils with an introduction to the essential knowledge that they need to be educated citizens. It introduces pupils to the best that has been thought and said; and helps engender an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
3.2 The national curriculum is just one element in the education of every child. There is time and space in the school day and in each week, term and year to range beyond the national curriculum specifications. The national curriculum provides an outline of core knowledge around which teachers can develop exciting and stimulating lessons to promote the development of pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills as part of the wider school curriculum.
The National Curriculum: structure
At Mortimer Primary School, there are three phases in total:
- Early Years: ages 3-5 (Nursery and Reception); the National Curriculum does not cover this phase
- Key Stage 1: ages 5-7 (Years 1-2)
- Key Stage 2: ages 7-11 (Years 3-6)
For Key Stages 1 and 2, there are three core subjects:
- English (spoken language, reading, writing, including grammar and punctuation)
- Mathematics (including number and place value, calculations, fractions, measurements, geometry)
- Science (including ‘ working scientifically’)
In addition, there are foundation subjects; for Key Stages 1 and 2, these are:
- art and design
- design and technology (DT)
- physical education (PE)
A language is also a foundation subject in Key Stage 2 – we have been teaching French to our older children for several years now. Religious Education must also be taught in both key stages.
We strive to ensure every one of our pupils leaves with the necessary literacy skills to thrive, not only in the next stage of their education, but in all of their future endeavours. Pupils are exposed to a wide range of quality, challenging texts and are taught the required skills to read for information, for understanding, and for enjoyment. Reading for pleasure is at the core of our curriculum and we provide exciting opportunities to engage children and their families in our reading culture and to foster a lifelong love of books.
To be a writer, you must first become a reader, and the strong links across our English curriculum provide pupils with the quality literature required to develop the necessary skills to express themselves through writing. Every one of our pupils is a writer, and we strive to provide every child the tools to plan, develop and edit their writing for a range of purposes across the curriculum. Writing is celebrated and, by giving our pupils opportunities to have their writing seen by an audience, we enable every child to view themselves as successful, independent writers.
At Mortimer Primary School, we aim to develop confidence and understanding across the Mathematics curriculum. Maths follows the 2014 National
Curriculum. We deliver a bespoke curriculum that has been developed from a range of sources based around the national curriculum. There is flexibility to teach depending on the needs of the pupils. All children are taught a rich balance of number work, measurement, geometry and statistics. EYFS teachers follow the EYFS Framework. In key stage 2, maths is taught in smaller groups, with 4 sets for the 3 classes of children. In Key Stage 2, the LA children follow an enhanced number based curriculum, based on White Rose planning. When children leave Mortimer Primary School, we aim for them to be confident with their mathematical knowledge and understanding, in order to continue to progress and develop their skills, with some children going on to mathematical based degrees and careers.
Science in our school means discovering and exploring the world around us. We take part in challenging, practical activities that encourage questioning and curiosity. These opportunities mean that we can extend our scientific understanding of the world. The children in our school say that Science is good when: We ask questions. We can go outside to learn. We can work together. We do fun tasks in lessons. We do experiments.
Our curriculum is bespoke based on our children’s experiences and is delivered in a manner which complements other subjects.
Mortimer Primary School provides children with a computing curriculum that is current and at the forefront of developments in the wider world. Children leave our school confident and competent in a range of skills which will support their future learning using technology; fluent with age-appropriate terminology; have a purpose to their learning and are able to adapt these skills and have a knowledge of how to maintain their safety when using digital technology. The curriculum is based upon National Curriculum Framework and Reception to Year 6 follow the Kapow Teaching Resource and adapt lessons to meet Mortimer curriculum needs and expectations. Teachers lead both bespoke computing and fluid cross curricular lessons throughout the curriculum. Each year group has long term, medium term and individual lesson plans that show progression of skill and application. Lessons consist of both teacher led skill development and child led enquiry.
We want History to have a high profile around school and to ensure that children know what the subject is and how it has and can impact our lives allowing them to develop their cultural capital. We want to ensure that history is loved across school, therefore encouraging the building in wealth of historical knowledge and understanding, now and in the future. We want to develop our children as ‘historians’ through an enquiry approach to our lessons, giving children an opportunity to develop a wide range of historical skills. The children’s chronological knowledge is key to all of our teaching.
Through Geography, we want to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and people within it; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. The Geography curriculum enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas. Geography is an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.
Through teaching Religious Education as a rigorous academic subject, we want to engage, inspire, challenge and encourage pupils, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to answer challenging questions, explore different religious beliefs, values and traditions and develop an understanding of the numerous religious traditions, beliefs and practices that are followed in our multi-cultural society. We want them to know how religious education promotes discernment and enables pupils to combat prejudice, preparing them for adult life, employment and life-long learning. We want pupils, through personal reflection, to have a better understanding of themselves and where they fit in. Enquiry based learning enables children to ask questions and develop skills of independent research and critical thinking, in particular analysis and evaluation. We encourage respect for all, including those with differing religious beliefs and world views, both religious and non-religious, as children develop understanding and appreciation of our diverse society and the wider world.
PSHE and Relationships education is an essential part of our pupil’s education as it enables them to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding they will need to become informed, healthy, active, independent and responsible citizens. We encourage pupils to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of our school and community. Through curricular and extra-curricular activities our children learn to recognise their own worth, work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own learning. The children, as part of the process of growing up, will be given the opportunity to reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues are seen to be an important part of this process.
At Mortimer Primary School we intend that all children enjoy Physical Education, physical activity and sport. We will develop the children’s, knowledge, skills and understanding, so that they can perform with increasing competence and confidence in a range of physical activities and sport cooperatively and competitively. We aim to improve health and well-being, promote sustained active participation and lifelong learning and for each child to fulfil their potential.
At Mortimer Primary School our aim is to ensure that practical music making and a greater appreciation of music is within the reach of all children. In line with the National Curriculum we believe that, ‘Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity’ and as such we intend that all children have the opportunity to gain a firm understanding of what music is through singing, listening, composing, playing and evaluating across a variety of historical periods, styles, traditions and genres. Singing is at the heart of music at Mortimer and through it the children are made aware of the impact music can have on their own well-being as well as in the wider community.
Cross Curricular & STEM
STEM is taught using a cross-curricular approach, with the aim to inspire and engage children. Children are provided with the foundations required to understand the world around them and the impact advances in science has upon technology. Through building up a body of foundational knowledge, pupils are encouraged to develop a sense of excitement and curiosity about natural phenomena. We teach children to partake in different types of scientific enquiries and to pose and answer scientific questions about the world around them. We demonstrate how knowledge can be applied in real life engineering situations to pose a solution to a problem. Children are then able to use their knowledge, gained through scientific research, to conduct their own design and technology projects in a practical environment. Opportunities for group and partner work are crucial to allow children to develop their communication skills, share ideas and collaborate effectively.
To foster and hone pupils’ love and appreciation for Art. Students will learn to explore different forms of art, being encouraged to investigate and critique them. Throughout the school, learners will develop skills in sketching, painting, collage, printing, textiles and digital arts using a wide range of media. Students will learn how to apply techniques to their own creative work. They will be encouraged to be reflective and evaluate their work. Through quality teaching, it is our intent to broaden all pupils’ cultural capital.
Through Design and Technology, we intend that all pupils are provided with a real-life context for learning that ensures our children are prepared to deal with the ever-changing technological world. We will encourage them to become problem solvers and to reflect upon their designs to ensure that they are suited to their needs working both independently and as part of a team. We will provide a stimulating curriculum based upon progression of skills that encourages children to reflect upon their own work and the work of others.
Modern Foreign Language
At Mortimer Primary School MFL is important as it helps pupils develop an understanding and interest in speaking another language. Through learning French, pupils not only develop speaking, writing and listening abilities but they have improved memory, enhanced decision making and a greater awareness of our own language. We place importance on the children sampling French culture and ensure that they are given opportunities to demonstrate what they have learnt, each year as they progress, so their learning has a purpose.